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Ethiopia arrests 15 over UAE embassy attack plot: Reports | Ethiopia News

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The country’s intelligence and security service said suspects were working on direction of foreigners, local media report.

Ethiopia’s state-run media have said authorities arrested 15 people over a plot to attack the United Arab Emirates’ embassy in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) on Wednesday cited a statement from the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) as saying that the suspects were working on foreigners’ direction.

An unspecified amount of arms, explosives and documents were seized during the operation, according to the statement, which was also cited in a report by the state-affiliated FANA news outlet.

“The group took the mission from a foreign terrorist group and was preparing to inflict significant damage on properties and human lives,” EPA said.

There was no immediate comment by the UAE’s foreign ministry or its embassy in Addis Ababa.

A second group of suspects was planning to attack the UAE’s diplomatic mission in neighbouring Sudan, the EPA said.

Ethiopia’s NISS was working with its Sudanese counterparts on that aspect of the plot, the agency said. There was no immediate comment from Sudanese authorities.

In its report, FANA cited the statement as saying that a man named “Ahmed Ismael, who is the leader of the terrorist group and a resident of Sweden, was arrested in Sweden as a result of exchange of information with European, African, and Asian security services”.

The UAE has played a key diplomatic role in bringing longtime foes Ethiopia and Eritrea since Abiy Ahmed became Ethiopia’s prime minister in 2018, while also providing financial contributions to stabilise Ethiopia’s economy.



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Voters go to the polls in El Salvador | Elections News

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Opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s vote show strong support for President Nayib Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party.

Voters are casting their ballots in El Salvador on Sunday, as President Nayib Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party is expected to make major gains in the legislative and local elections.

Long queues of voters wearing face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic stretched outside of voting centres ahead of polls opening at 7am local time (13:00 GMT).

Salvadorans are choosing 84 legislators to represent them in the national assembly for the next three years, as well as 262 municipal councils.

Opinion polls released ahead of the vote showed Bukele’s party with around 70 percent support – and a strong chance of securing more than half of the mayoral positions and enough seats to hold at least a simple majority in Congress.

Bukele, who took office in 2019, came to power on a promise to root out corruption and offer an alternative to El Salvador’s main political parties, left-wing FMLN and right-wing ARENA.

ARENA currently holds 37 of the 84 seats in Congress and controls 138 of the 262 municipal councils, while FMLN holds 23 congressional seats and 64 municipal councils.

Tens of thousands of police, soldiers and international observers have been deployed to oversee the vote.

“We hope to have a peaceful election day, a truly civic celebration crowned by massive participation of the electorate,” Dora Martinez, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) told national TV.

Earlier this month, the TSE called for international observers to be sent early after two FMLN activists were killed and five others were injured in a shooting in the capital, San Salvador.

Observers said it was one of the worst political attacks in decades.

Tensions have been rising ahead of the legislative polls, as civil society groups raised concerns that a strong showing for Bukele’s party could see him consolidate power.

Human rights advocates have said the president has shown authoritarian tendencies – an accusation that he and his supporters have rebuffed.

People vote during parliamentary and local elections in San Salvador on February 28 [Marvin Recinos/AFP]

With a majority in Congress, Bukele would be able to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the public prosecutor’s office.

A two-thirds majority would let the Nuevas Ideas party appoint high-level government officials, such as the attorney general and five of the country’s 15 Supreme Court justices.

“I’m going to vote for [Nayib’s party] because he has helped us a lot,” Wendy Henriquez, a 46-year-old street vendor, told Al Jazeera ahead of the vote.

Officials expect preliminary results will be released a few hours after polls close at 5pm (23:00 GMT) on Sunday.



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